Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 13, 2012

All's fair in health and wellness

BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — PENDLETON –– It was a strange color and kind of mushy. And it was sitting on the Food Bank of Western New York’s table.

Dietitian Sarah Mutah said it was a model of 5 pounds of fat.

That was just one of the many different kinds of displays at Starpoint High School’s first Health & Wellness Fair on Wednesday. Students had a chance to walk through the school’s lobby and gather information from a number of vendors. The idea was to provide students with more information about their overall health and what they can do to improve or maintain it.

“It’s our first, we’re hoping to make it annual,” Tamah Alt, a high school guidance counselor, said. “We felt the kids needed to know more about wellness and right before the holidays was a good time for it.”

Starpoint reached out to a number of local agencies and organizations. The response from them and Wednesday’s turnout was amazing, Alt said.

“It was better than we could have hoped for,” she said.

A few other organizations that attended were the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, the United Way of Greater Niagara, the YWCA of Niagara, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Eastern Niagara Hospital. There were giveaways, wheels with prizes, a martial arts demonstration and a mediation lesson. Teachers were asked to allow some time for students to attend, while time was set aside during lunch and study hall periods as well.

There might be some kind of evaluation survey in the future, but at least on Wednesday, students enjoyed the fair. The tables with information on nutrition and how to eat properly seemed to be most popular, Alt said.

“The kids seemed to really like it,” Alt said.

At the Food Bank table, students who stopped by were given nutritional information, as well as information about the agency itself. Emily Gorman, a dietitian who attended the fair with Mutah, said Wednesday’s fair was busy but pretty successful.

Heather Jones was manning the table for the Mental Health Association in Western New York. Attending such events like the Starpoint fair is vital in getting information out to the public, Jones said. The agency does a lot of community outreach, Jones said.

If the fair continues, would the Mental Health Association return?

“Absolutely,” Jones said.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.